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Direct Answers - Column for the week of September 15, 2003
I have a couple of questions for you. If a person no longer feels they love their spouse, is it time to divorce?
Also, do you think a person who has had an affair can change enough for the betrayed to forgive and continue the marriage? Is it possible to salvage a marriage after the affair?
Marie, a book could be written on each of your questions, but the last question sounds like the one you are really asking. What do you mean by salvage?
Do you mean the cake just fell on the floor and the guests are arriving. Can we patch it together and serve it from the kitchen so no one notices what happened? Or do you mean, after an affair, can you have the kind of marriage you would wish for your son or daughter?
Marriage is a relationship different from all others. You can date many people, you can be friends with many people, you can be neighbors to many people. But the act of getting married says I choose this one unique being to share everything with me for the rest of my life.
The basis for willingly binding yourself to one person is love. Their fidelity allows you to believe in their love. Their fidelity allows you to sustain your love. But if that person is unfaithful then they, not you, have brought their love into question. Infidelity validates your doubts about their love.
The idea of fidelity is in the marital vows because it is essential. Fidelity is the one thing promised in virtually every religious tradition and understood worldwide. Why? Because breaking faith breaks the marriage.
It is possible to forgive betrayal, but in our experience it is not possible to forget it. That would be like forgetting you have kids. It isn't going to happen. The unfaithful person would like the other person to forget, and the one betrayed would like to forget, but barring amnesia they cannot.
How do you believe "I love you" after you have been betrayed? That is what people ask us years and even decades afterwards. For some people who stay in the marriage, divorce was not an option. For many people, it is not the case that they healed after infidelity. They simply live with the pain. Is that a "marriage" salvaged?
Others claim you can get over infidelity. We say you may not be able to overcome infidelity. The difference is we focus on the innocent party.
Wayne & Tamara
I am an advice columnist myself, a Dutch one from Holland. I read your column online because I appreciate your work, your tone and style. My question is how do you get your quotes from world literature?
I mean, the questions from your correspondents are pretty much straightforward. Mostly I agree with your advice, but you quite often have allusions to Shakespeare or Hemingway or other writers, allusions which corroborate your point in a wonderful, illuminating way.
How come you have these citations at hand so easily? Do you go through books when answering questions? Do you have citation books or indexes? Or just an excellent memory?
Beatrijs, a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti talks about a pickpocket who looks at a saint and sees nothing but pockets. We write about relationships because we see the world as nothing but relationships.
When we look at a letter, our experience and these allusions just pop out. In the case of your letter, it was a line from a poem one of us read decades ago.
We don't have perfect memories either. Most of us know much more than we think we know. Part of finding the answer to our problems involves letting what we know out. Part of finding the answer to our problems involves reading each situation with the sum total of our life experience.
Wayne & Tamara
About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.
Re-Developing Your Vision
One of the most important things we can do for our businesses, schools, and organizations is to have vision. Vision being a clear picture of a desired end result that you are aiming for.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Whoever coined this phrase is a genius. Life finds ways to dish out exactly this- the good the bad and the ugly.
The Tiniest of Gladiators
I stared into those biggest of navy blue eyes and felt the power of his fighting spirit, despite the pain and week long raging fever. Most of the time my heart was in my throat and my mind was awash with counter-productive thoughts like, "why him?" and "this isn't fair!"This wasn't helping him to be sure (my daughter was much stronger than I), but in spite, he not only survived the arduous ordeal, but he emerged the victor!I am talking about my infant grandson, Corbin Nicolas, clobbered with a serious infection of the lymph glands.
A Lifetime In Love
We let ourselves love but are afraid to say I love you. We constantly allow our emotions to run deep but why do we hold back on our sweet sensations and tingling feelings?Sometimes although it hurts so bad we cry out for more.
Are You Taking Responsibility?
It is time to take responsibility for our actions and the results we create in our lives. It's time to stop expecting someone else to do for us what we are unwilling to do for ourselves.
A Pickup Line
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 11, 2002I just started a wonderful new job. The atmosphere is laid-back, and the people alone make the place fantastic.
Keeping Your Attitude Up When Circumstances Are Down
Everyone knows that a positive attitude is key to the successful life. But what happens when things go wrong? What happens when circumstances deal us a blow? We have a tendency to let our attitudes take the dive along with our state of affairs.
Doing the Remarkable
When it comes to meeting and conquering the negativity in your life, here is a key question: what can you do, starting today, that will make a difference? What can you do during economic chaos? What can you do when everything has gone wrong? What can you do when you've run out of money, when you don't feel well and it's all gone sour? What can you do?Let me give you the broad answer first. You can do the most remarkable things, no matter what happens.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of September 2, 2002My husband of four years has been arrested for the fourth time for hurting me. This time he strangled me.
Money or Faith?
I've been to 64-countries, and yes money comes in handy, and goes quickly (and is useful and has its influence), I've had a ton of it at one time or another and an ounce of faith, and I'll take faith any day-why? I'll explain. Anybody who has been in a combated zone, under fire will tell you: '?keep the money, I need faith right now.
Rocking The Boat
I work in a factory, and we have supervisors who play favorites. They have about six girls who can do no wrong, and they have easier jobs than the rest of us.
Addicted To Her
Direct Answers - Column for the week of August 4, 2003I dated a woman I work with for four years. In both our minds we were soul mates.
Do you ever need to have your batteries "re-charged", or you may need a boost to your self-confidence. You might be facing a very scary situation--like turning another year older with a BIG zero behind the number--and need a strong and reasurring presence.
Heavy Weather Guide
Direct Answers - Column for the week of April 26, 2004My girlfriend and I are basically the same age, just a six month difference. When I went to buy the engagement ring in February, I felt certain she was the right one.
Make A Difference - Just Go Make A Difference!
Three Words That Can Help Us Live Exceptional LivesCertain words and word combinations carry with them varying levels of meaning for each of us.For instance, you may sense any number of reactions to one or more of these statements:"Strike three.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of December 9, 2002I was involved with a man separated from his wife. We connected on an extremely emotional level and were in the process of building a future.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of June 16, 2003I enjoy reading your column every week. I want to tell you about a family problem I am having at present.
3 Big Fat Lies that Deserve to Die
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Blessings and Art of Living
My perception is that universe infinitely blesses us every moment. Why we do not acknowledge is that we are not consciously aware of it.
Conspiracy of Silence
Direct Answers - Column for the week of January 12, 2004I'm hoping you can help me with a moral problem that crops up every now and then in my personal and professional life. Sometimes I find myself being blamed for an error or lack of judgment that actually occurred on someone else's part.
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